BYU (3-2) hosts Creighton (3-1) Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Marriott Center. The game will be televised by SportsWest Productions on KSL-TV, channel 5, in Salt Lake City. There are no satelitte coordinates for the game. KSL Newsradio 1160 provides the radio broadcast on the Cougar Sports Network. Bill Riley will provide the play-by-play call with Mark Durrant adding commentary. The Cougars are coming off a home win over Weber State Wednesday. The Jays lost for the first time this year at TCU Tuesday.
GAME FACTS (game 6)
Saturday, Dec. 8, 2001
BYU (3-2) vs. Creighton (3-1)
Marriott Center (22,700)
8:07 p.m. MT
BYU, Steve Cleveland (70-59 in fifth year; same overall)
Creighton, Dana Altman (126-87 in 8th year; 209-154 in 13th year overall)
Series: BYU leads, 4-2
KSL-TV, channel 5 (SportsWest Productions)
Air Time: 8 p.m. MT
Play-by-Play: Tom Kirkland
Game Analyst: Craig Hislop
KSL Newsradio 1160 AM (Cougar Sports Network)
Pregame Air Time - 7:30 p.m. MT
Play-by-Play: Bill Riley
Game Analyst: Mark Durrant
Web: Audio available at www.KSL.com
BYU's Probable Starters:
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
F 3 Mark Bigelow 6-7 190 So. 18.0 3.8
F 25 Eric Nielsen 6-9 215 Sr. 11.6 5.8
C 52 Jared Jensen 6-9 245 Fr. 7.0 1.8
G 2 Travis Hansen 6-6 210 Jr. 17.2 8.8
G 31 Matt Montague 6-0 190 Sr. 6.2 7.4 apg
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
G 20 Daniel Bobik 6-6 205 So. 9.0 3.4
G 22 Jimmy Balderson 6-6 200 Fr. 2.5 1.8
F 32 Bart Jepsen 6-9 235 So. 0.2 3.2
C 40 Dan Howard 7-0 225 So. 0.0 0.7
G 12 Shawn Opunui 5-11 175 Fr. 0.0 0.5 apg
G 10 Terry Nashif 5-10 165 Fr. 0.0 0.0
C 42 Jon Carlisle 6-10 260 So. 0.0 2.0
F 4 Jesse Pinegar 6-9 225 Fr. -- --
Creighton Quick Facts:
Location: Omaha, Neb.
Colors: Blue and White
Home Arena: Omaha Civic Auditorium (9,377)
Conference: Missouri Valley
Athletic Director: Bruce Rasmussen
Head Coach: Dana Altman
Alma Mater: Eastern New Mexico (1980)
Best time to call: Weekday mornings
Office Phone: (402) 280-1795
Overall Record (Years): 206-153 (12)
Record at School (Years): 123-86 (7)
Assistant Coaches: Greg Grensing, Len Gordy, Darian DeVries
Overall Record: 24-8
Conf. Record/Finish: 14-4/1st (T3rd in MVC tourney)
Final Ranking/Post Season Finish: NA
Letterman Returning/Lost: 6/7
Starters Returning/Lost: 2/3
Returning Starters (last year's stats)
Kyle Korver, 6-7, 205, Jr., F (14.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg)
Terrell Taylor, 6-3, 200, Jr., F (10.4 ppg, 2.6 rpg)
Basketball Contact: Rob Simms
Office: (402) 280-2433
Home: (402) 697-1068
Fax: (402) 280-2495
Press Row: (402) 444-3208
Athletics Web Site
Creighton is 3-1 after falling at Texas Christian, 82-77, on Tuesday. Creighton has home wins over North Carolina A&T (72-51), No. 17 Western Kentucky (94-91, 2OT), and Grambling State (102-64). The Bluejays are coached by Dana Altman, who owns a record of 126-87 in his eighth year at CU and is 209-154 in his 12th season as a collegiate head coach (Marshall, 1989-90; Kansas State, 1990-94; Creighton, 1994-present). Altman guided the Jays to a mark of 69-27 and NCAA tournament berths in each of the past three seasons. Tuesday the Jays trailed TCU by as much as nine during the first half before scoring the final five points and cut the deficit to 40-37 at the intermission.The Jays picked up where they left off to open the second stanza to take a 41-40 lead. The momentum of the game changed with 2:15 remaining and Creighton up 73-72. Creighton sophomore Ismael Caro picked off a Junior Blount pass only to miss a breakaway lay-up. In the scramble for the rebound, CU's Terrell Taylor fouled Nucleus Smith. Smith made both free throws and the Horned Frogs never trailed the rest of the way, winning 82-77. In all, the game featured 16 ties and 15 lead changes. Kyle Korver had 15 of his game-high 25 points in the first half and led CU with 25 point, nine rebounds, four assists and four steals. Michael Lindeman chipped in with a career-best 10 points in a losing effort. TCU was paced by 22 points from Bingo Merriex and 18 points and nine rebounds from Marlon Dumont. While Creighton has put together an impressive 18 game home-winning streak, the Jays aren't afraid to do battle on the road. CU is 15-12 in road games over the past three seasons - having gone 8-6 in 1999-00 and 7-5 last season. The Bluejays are the only MVC school to have recorded winning marks on the road both years. If you throw in CU's past two neutral records (5-1 in 1999-00, 3-3 in 2000-01), the Jays are 23-16 (.590) away from the Civic Auditorium. Creighton was 10-8 away from Omaha last season and has a 23-16 (.590) record away from the Civic Auditorium over the past three seasons. Creighton is ranked No. 12 in the Mid-Major Top 25 Poll released by CollegeInsider.com. CU opponents Southern Illinois and Western Kentucky rank fourth and seventh, respectively, in the poll released Dec. 2. BYU opponent's Utah State (#6), Pepperdine (#15), and Weber State (#24) are also ranked in the poll.
CREIGHTON'S PROBABLE STARTERS
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG APG
22 Michael Lindeman F 6-6 190 So. 7.2 4.5 1.2
25 Kyle Korver F 6-7 210 Jr. 19.2 7.2 3.7
21 Joe Dabbert C 6-10 230 So. 8.7 5.2 1.2
3 DeAnthony Bowden G 6-1 180 Jr. 6.2 2.2 1.7
20 Larry House G 6-4 205 Jr. 7.7 2.7 1.0
BYU leads the overall series 4-2. The series began in 1931 but the two schools have not faced each other since 1973 with Creighton winning, 99-86, on Dec. 17, 1973 in Omaha. The only meeting in Provo was a Dec. 11, 1971 game that was only the fourth ever played in the Marriott Center. BYU won four straight in the series after losing the first meeting in 1931.
Overall Series Record: BYU leads 4-2
BYU Record in Provo: 1-0
BYU Record at Creighton: 2-2
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 1-0
BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 0-0
Longest BYU Win Streak: 4 (1934-71)
Longest Creighton Win Streak: 1
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 35, 109-74 in 1964
Largest Creighton Margin of Victory: 13, 86-99 in 1973
Most Points Scored by BYU: 109 in 1964
Most Points Scored by Creighton: 99 in 1973
Date Opponent Score W/L
12-19-31 at Creighton 36-41 L
12-20-34 at Creighton 48-38 W
12-19-35 at Creighton 43-36 W
12-28-64 vs. Creighton* 109-74 W
* All College Tournament
12-11-71 Creighton 96-68 W
12-17-73 at Creighton @ Omaha 86-99 L
BYU vs. Creighton Notables
Bobik Played in Last Two BYU-Creighton Games
Ralph Bobik, father of BYU sophomore guard Daniel Bobik, played in the last two games in the BYU-Creighton series as a member of the Jays. He played in 82 games, averaging 10.5 points and 4.8 rebounds from 1971-74.
Daniel Keeps the Tradition Going
Daniel Bobik will make sure a Bobik plays in three straight BYU-Creighton games. The 6-foot-6, 205-pound sophomore is the first player off the bench and is scoring 9.0 points per game, fourth on the team. His season high is 13 points at Utah State.
During his early days at Creighton, Ralph Bobik picked up the nickname, "Crazy Ralph." Perhaps the only thing his coach thought was crazy about Ralph was that he loved to pass so much that he sometimes passed up good opportunities to shoot. At 6-foot-7 and 200 pounds, Ralph was able to play either guard or forward and was a top assist maker. He led the team as a junior with 162 assists compared to the next closest Jay with 50 assists.
1973 Game Notes (last game)
Ralph Bobik played 37 minutes and recorded a double-double with 11 points and 16 assists to lead the Jays to a 99-86 win. He went 5-10 from the floor and 1-1 from the free throw line and added four rebounds. Creighton's Doug Brookins scored 23 to lead all scorers. BYU was led by Greg Snow with 20 points while Belmont Anderson added 18. BYU All-American football player Gifford Nielsen, whose son Gifford is a member of this year's Cougar team, had two points and two rebounds in 11 minutes. It was the first of two years he played both basketball and football. Creighton shot 52.9 percent from the floor while BYU shot a sizzling 59.6 percent in the loss. BYU made 12-15 free throws and Creighton 9-12.
1971 Game Notes (last game in Provo)
Ralph Bobik played 29 minutes with 11 points and three assists in the Marriott Center. BYU started quickly in the four-quarter game, getting out to a 28-15 lead after the first quarter. BYU never looked back to run away with the 96-68 win to improve to 4-0 in the Marriott Center. BYU went on to win all 12 home games in the first year of the Marriott Center. All-American Kresimir Cosic led BYU with 23 points, 15 rebounds and six assists. Five Cougars finished in double-digit points, including current NBA official Bernie Fryer, who had 16 and Phil Tollestrup, who added 14. Tollestrup coached current BYU freshman Jimmy Balderson at Magrath High School in Alberta, Canada.
Cougar Defense Shines in Win over Weber State Wednesday
PROVO -- Defense was the key for BYU as the Cougars extended their home win streak to 22 with a 65-47 win over Weber State. BYU led the entire game, and the closest the Wildcats came as a tie at 2-2 in the first half. The Cougars established a 14-point lead at the half, thanks to four three-pointers. In the second half the defense allowed only 18 points after surrendering 29 to the Wildcats in the first half. The Cougar defense came up big, allowing only 47 points, the least amount of points allowed this season after holding San Diego to 59 points. "Tonight we were much quicker to attack penetration," said BYU head coach Steve Cleveland. "Our No. 1 objective was to stop their dribble penetration. This was our best defensive effort of the season." BYU's defense shut down the Wildcat penetration, leaving Weber State with a 35 percent shot percentage and only 2-for-12 from behind the arc. "The difference tonight was Matt Montague, who is finally going to the basket," Cleveland said. In a team leading 39 minutes of play, Matt Montague scored eight points, all in the first half, and recorded a game-high seven assists. Eric Nielsen and Mark Bigelow led the Cougars in scoring with 14 points each. Bigelow made two three-pointers and pulled down seven rebounds, including three offensive rebounds. Nielsen led BYU with eight rebounds and made his first three-pointer of the season. Nielsen, who only made one three-pointer last season, has nine career three-point shots. Freshmen Jimmy Balderson raised the bar in his young career, recording a career-high six points in a career-high 13 minutes. Jon Carlisle made his debut this season with three minutes of play in the first half. Jermaine Boyett and Chris Woods led Weber State with 12 points each. Boyett finished with four steals and five turnovers. The Cougars extended their home win streak against the Wildcats to 14-0 and 18-9 overall. "We got beat in a very tough place to play," said WSU head coach Joe Cravens. "They've got a pretty good team here."
Hansen Off to Fast Start
Shooting guard Travis Hansen is second in scoring (17.2 ppg) and is BYU's top rebounder (8.8 rpg). He had seven points and six boards Wednesday vs. Weber State. He is shooting 43.1 percent from the floor, 44.4 percent on threes, and 75.9 percent from the line. He averaged 20 points and 7.5 rebounds in BYU's two games last week to lead the Cougars in both categories. He shot 45 percent from the floor, including 55.6 percent on threes, and 87.5 percent from the free throw line. Hansen scored a career-high 26 points against Utah State Saturday in BYU's overtime loss. He went 10-15 from the floor, including a 3-5 from three-point range, and was 3-4 from the line. He added a team-high five rebounds and one assist in 38 minutes. His 10 field goals, three treys and 38 minutes were all career highs. Hansen extended a string of 13 straight made free throws dating back to the season-opener in San Diego before missing one of his four attempts at Utah State. He was 4-4 at UC Santa Barbara and 7-8 for the week. Hansen had his second straight double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds at UC Santa Barbara. He had 18 points and a career-high 15 rebounds to lead BYU to a win over Arizona State in BYU's only home game. The two double-doubles are the first of his career. Hansen's 15 rebounds vs. ASU is the most ever by a BYU guard and the most by a Cougar since Justin Widauer, a center, grabbed 15 boards for BYU at Texas Christian in the 1996-97 season. Hansen has scored 20-plus points twice in BYU's five games and has a team-leading two double-doubles.
Bigelow Playing Big
Mark Bigelow averages 18.0 points per game to lead all BYU scorers. He had 14 points and a season-high 7 rebounds vs. Weber State Wednesday. Bigelow averaged 18.0 points per game last week. He scored a team-high 15 at UC Santa Barbara, including 4-6 on threes, and had 21 points at Utah State, with three treys. He made 7-13 threes in the two games, a 53.8 success rate. He also shot 90 percent from the free throw line, going 9-10. He added 3.5 rebounds per game. Bigelow scored a season-high 31 points in BYU's win over Arizona State last Saturday. It was the second time Bigelow has totaled more than 30 points. His career high is 33 points at Washington State as a freshman during the 1998-99 season. Against ASU in the last game in Provo, Bigelow made shots from long-range, mid-range and inside, shooting 52.9 percent from the floor, going 9-17, including 4-of-8 three-point attempts. He missed only one free throw in 10 attempts to shoot 90 perent from the charity stripe. Bigelow contributed all over the court with four assists (second to point guard Matt Montague's six) and three rebounds to go along with his sharp shooting.
Nielsen Stepping into New Role
Senior Eric Nielsen will play a larger offensive role for BYU this year. He is third on the team in scoring (11.6 ppg). He has scored 14 points in each of the last two games. He had a career-high 19 points vs. ASU (his previous best was 17 against Utah in the 2000 MWC tournament in Las Vegas). He is shooting 57.5 percent from the floor. He went 8-11 from the floor vs. ASU. His eight field goals made was a new personal best. Last year the most shots he took in a game was eight, when he averaged only 3.8 shot attempts per game. He ranks third all-time at BYU in career field goal percentage. He made two big buckets from the post late in game to stave off an ASU comeback attempt. He had season lows of three points and four rebounds last Wednesday in a foul trouble-shortened 34 minutes at UC Santa Barbara.
Senior Leader at the Point
Senior point guard Matt Montague had eight points and seven assists vs. Weber State and a season-high 10 assists at Utah State, the most assists he has recorded since dishing out 10 assists as a sophomore vs. Southern Illinois on March 20, 2000 in BYU's second round NIT victory. Montague's career high is 11, which he record vs. Weber State as a freshman during the 1996-97 season. Montague has led BYU in assists in each of his three previous seasons and averages a Mountain West Conference best 7.4 assists this year. He scored 11 points and had a game-high eight assists at USD in the season-opener. Montague reached double-digit points only once last year in 33 games, scoring 12 points at the University of San Francisco.
Bobik Getting Time
After averaging 10 minutes off the bench last year while playing in 28 of 33 games, sophomore Daniel Bobik will get more playing time this season. Playing a sixth-man role, he is averaging 24 minutes, 9.0 points and 3.4 rebounds. He leads BYU with seven steals. He had 9 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 1 block in 26 minutes vs. Weber State. He had 13 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists in 25 minutes at Utah State. He played a career-high 33 minutes with 12 points and four rebounds in the season-opener at USD.
Jensen Filling Starting Role
After sophomore Dan Howard Started the season-opener, freshman center Jared Jensen has started the last four games. Jensen had 7 points and 2 rebounds Wednesday vs. Weber State. He averaged 9.0 points per game last week, while going 6-7 from the floor (.857) and made 6-8 free throws (.750). He had a career-high 14 points on 4-5 shooting and 6-8 from the line at UCSB, but did not have a rebound. In his first career start vs. Arizona State in Provo, he played 15 minutes and had four points, two rebounds and one assist. Howard started at USD, the the first time in 19 career appearances, but played only seven minutes, with one rebound. He played four minutes vs. Weber State and two minutes at Utah State after not appearing in the prior two games.
Home Winning Streak
BYU extended its home court winning streak to 22 games with its win over Weber State Saturday. BYU owns the sixth longest home-court streak in the nation. BYU went a perfect 15-0 in the Marriott Center last season. BYU's last loss in the Marriott Center was on Feb. 17, 2000 when New Mexico edged the Cougars 78-74.
Home Winning Streak 2
BYU has defeated 18 straight nonconference opponents in the Marriott Center. The Cougars have won all 17 nonconference home games the past two seasons and started the streak with a win over Utah State on Jan. 2, 1999. BYU's last nonconference loss was Dec. 19, 1998 when the Cougars dropped a 71-70 game to California. BYU has won 24 of 30 nonconference home games in the four years under Steve Cleveland.
BYU is shooting 44.7 percent from the floor, 39.5 percent on threes and 80 percent (No. 1 among MWC teams) from the line. Last week, BYU shot 43.6 percent from the floor and 44.1 percent on threes in two games. They made 80 percent of their free throws but were still out shot by their opponent's who made an impressive 91.4 percent from the line. BYU's opponents shot 44.4 percent from the floor and 31 percent on threes last week. BYU is first among MWC teams in three-point field goal percentage defense, allowing only a 27.5 success rate from long range.
From Three-Point Range
With Eric Nielsen's three against Weber State, four Cougars have now made a three-point shot this season. Mark Bigelow leads the way with 14 threes (14-30, .467), followed by Travis Hansen is 8-18 (.444) and Daniel Bobik is 7-19 (.368). Nielsen is 1-2 on the year after going 1-3 all of last year. He has made nine career three-pointers.
More Free Throw Numbers
Six Cougars are shooting 75 percent or better from the free throw line, including three better than 80 percent. Mark Bigelow makes a team-leading 91.7 percent (No. 2 among MWC players) followed by Jared Jensen (.818), Daniel Bobik (.800), Eric Nielsen (.786), Matt Montague (.786), and Travis Hansen (.759).
On the Boards
BYU out boarded Weber State 37-32. The Cougars were out rebounded for the first time this year in its overtime loss to Utah State (35-24). The Cougars and UCSB each had 35 rebounds. On the year, BYU maintains a rebounding edge with a 35.0 average compared to 31.8. BYU's 42-26 rebounding advantage over ASU in its home opener was the third worst margin suffered by ASU head coach Rob Evan's in his coaching career and his worst at ASU.
BYU won its season-opener for the fifth straight year. The Cougars are 3-0 at home and 2-0 on the road in season-openers under coach Steve Cleveland. Both road wins have been in San Diego. Before this year's win over the University of San Diego, the Cougars defeating San Diego State in Cleveland's BYU debut in 1997. With this year's win over ASU, BYU has now won its last four home openers and is 4-1 in home-openers under Steve Cleveland.
Six Games In
BYU started the year 2-0 for the third straight season. After five games, BYU has had a winning record three straight years (4-1 in 1999-00 and 3-2 in 2000-01 and this year). After six games, BYU was 4-2 last year, 5-1 in 1999-2000, 2-4 in 1998-99 and 1-5 in Cleveland's first year in 1997-98.
Point Putting in Time
Starting point guard Matt Montague is averaging a team-high 39.4 minutes per game. He played a career-high 42 minutes in BYU's overtime loss at Utah State. Freshman backup Shawn Opunui sprained ligaments in his thumb against Utah State after three minutes and sat out vs. Weber State. He should be able to play Saturday vs. Creighton.
BYU Starting Lineup Record
Montague, Hanen, Bigelow, Nielsen, Jensen 2-2
Montague, Hanen, Bigelow, Nielsen, Howard 1-0
Coaching Staff Additions
Former BYU player Andy Toolson and Pine View High School (St. George, Utah) coach John Wardenburg were hired as assistant coaches in May. Toolson joins Cleveland's staff after an 11-year professional career in Europe and the NBA, while Wardenburg comes to BYU with 11 years of coaching experience at the high school and junior college level. Former assistant coach Nathan Call was named director of basketball operations. Associate Head Coach Dave Rose remains in that capacity. Heath Schroyer, who had served alongside Cleveland, Rose and Call the past four seasons in Provo, left to accept an assistant position at Wyoming. Brian Santiago, Cleveland's administrative assistant the past four seasons, is BYU's assistant athletic director responsible for game operations.
Jared Jensen, a 6-foot-9 forward, earned the 2001 Deseret News Mr. Basketball Award after scoring 25.8 points and pulling down 13 rebounds per game this past season at Fremont High School (Utah). Shawn Opunui, 5-foot-11 , averaged 21.7 points and 6.1 assists as an all-state point guard at Orem High School (Utah) in 1999 before leaving for an LDS Church mission. Additional newcomers include freshman Jimmy Balderson from Magrath, Alberta, and transfers Ricky Bower from the University of Wisconsin, Jake Shoff from Weber State University and Jon Carlisle from the University of Utah. Bower and Shoff will redshirt next season because of transfer rules while Carlisle, who returned from a mission earlier this year, is eligible to play as a sophomore but could redshirt while working to return to playing condition.
2001-02 Schedule Notes
Time Change for Saturdays' Game with Creighton
Saturday's game with Creighton, originally scheduled to begin at 4 p.m., has been changed to an 8 p.m. start time. The game will be televised by SportsWest Productions on KSL-TV, channel 5.
BYU Opponents Get Big Wins
BYU will face some tough opposition this year on its schedule. Several upcoming opponents have already recorded some big wins. Pepperdine, a 22-9 team last year that finished second to Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference, knocked off No. 11 UCLA at Pauley Pavillion and Creighton, the champion of the Missouri Valley Conference, upset No. 17 Western Kentucky. Weber State won the Big Island Invitational with wins over Louisiana State, Wisconsin and Colorado State. BYU faces both Weber State and Creighton this week in Provo.
BYU Opponent 2001-02 Records
(as of Dec. 6)
Already faced ....
San Diego 3-3
Arizona State 4-2
UC Santa Barbara 4-2
Utah State 5-0
Weber State 5-2
Total already played - (.700) 21-9
Still ahead ....
Ft. Lewis 3-2
CS Northridge 1-3
Southern Utah 2-4
San Francisco 1-5
Total nonconference opponents - (.551) 38-31
MWC teams ...
San Diego State 4-3
New Mexico 4-3
Air Force 4-3
Colorado State 4-4
Total MWC teams - (.565) 26-20
Total all opponents - (.557) 64-51
Seven Conference Champions
Seven conference champions, including Pac-10 champion Stanford, and 12 games against teams who qualified for postseason play last year highlight BYU's 2001-02 men's basketball schedule. Other conference champions include Creighton of the Missouri Valley Conference, Utah State of the Big West, Cal State Northridge of the Big Sky (playing in Big West this year), Southern Utah of the Mid-Continent Conference and fellow co-champions Utah and Wyoming of the Mountain West Conference. Pepperdine and New Mexico also advanced to post-season play in the NIT tournament. Pepperdine placed second in the WCC behind NCAA qualifier Gonzaga and earned a 22-9 record, including an NIT win in Laramie over Wyoming. The Waves enter their first year under former NBA player and coach Paul Westphal. New Mexico also advanced in the NIT, losing in the second round to Pepperdine. Including two exhibition contests, BYU has 29 games, including 17 in the Marriott Center, on its schedule. The MWC tournament is Mar. 7-9, at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas Showdown vs. Stanford
The Cougars will face Stanford, who advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament last year with a 31-3 record, on ESPN in game two of the annual Las Vegas Showdown at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas on Dec. 22. Host UNLV will play Texas in the first game on ESPN2.
Opponent Winning Percentage
BYU's 13 nonconference opponents earned a combined 234-156 (.600) record last year for an average record of 18-12. Instate rivals Utah State, Utah, Southern Utah and Weber State combined for an 87-38 record, winning nearly 70 percent of their games and earning two NCAA and one NIT berth. Nine teams who qualified for a postseason (five NCAA, four NIT).
BYU will play seven nonconference opponents who were on the Cougars' schedule last year and six that are new to the schedule, including two first-time opponents. BYU had a 5-2 record last year against the seven teams it will play again this season, with home wins over UC Santa Barbara, Utah State, Idaho and Southern Utah and a road win at Weber State. The two losses both came during the first road trip of the season at San Francisco and Arizona State. Stanford, Creighton, Pepperdine, Cal State Northridge, San Diego and Fort Lewis are all new opponents this year, with San Diego and Fort Lewis playing BYU for the first time. BYU faces teams from seven different conferences in 2001-02, including three West Coast Conference teams in San Diego, San Francisco and Pepperdine; three Big Sky teams in Cal State Northridge, Weber State and Idaho; two Pac-10 teams in Stanford and Arizona State; two Big West teams in Utah State and UC Santa Barbara; and one team each from the Missouri Valley Conference (Creighton), Mid-Continent Conference (Southern Utah), and Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (Fort Lewis).
All BYU games will be carried live on the Cougar Sports Radio Network, originating from KSL Newsradio 1160 AM in Salt Lake City. BYU is featured six times this season in the Mountain West television package with ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Regional Television (ESPN+Plus) and ABC. The Cougars play twice on ESPN and four times on ESPN+Plus. An additi
onal 12 BYU games are part of the SportsWest Productions' package.
ERIC NIELSEN / 6-9 Â• 215 Â• senior Â• forward
CAPSULE -- A three-year starter, Nielsen will play a big role for the Cougars in 2001-02 with the loss of the team's other four starters ... An intelligent player with a good mid-range jumper, his 56.3 career field goal percentage ranks third all-time at BYU ... Nielsen and teammates Matt Montague and Michael Vranes were all freshmen members of the 1996-97 BYU team that finished 1-25 .... After returning from his mission, Nielsen has played the past two seasons for coach Cleveland , helping the Cougars earn a combined 46-20 record and two postseason tournament berths ... He is Academic All-MWC and a Cougar Scholar Athlete.
Matt Montague / 6-0 Â• 190 Â• senior Â• point guard
CAPSULE: Montague provides leadership at the point having started 57 times and played in all 92 games in his three years ... Last year he started 12 games, primarily before Trent Whiting joined the team in December, but still lead the team in assists (2.9) while playing mostly a reserve role ... He has led the team in assists during each of his three seasons ... A hard-nosed competitor, he sees the floor well and is a great transition passer ... Career averages are 3.6 points and 3.8 assists.
Travis Hansen / 6-6 Â• 210 Â• junior Â• forward
CAPSULE: . After playing a supporting role in his first season at BYU last year, he will be asked to play a more significant role for the Cougars in 2001-02 ... With an increase in playing time in 2001-02, Hansen has the talent to become an all-conference player ... He is very athletic ... His explosiveness gives him great potential as a scorer and rebounder ... He is most effective when slashing to the basket but has range from the three-point arc ... He was fifth in scoring last year (5.5) and also grabbed 3.0 boards per game ... He earned a starting position midway through the year before missing nine games in the middle of MWC play because of a fractured right foot. He played primarily a reserve role to senior Nathan Cooper after returning from his injury ... He started nine games and the Cougars had a 7-2 record in those games with loses at Colorado State and Wyoming, where he suffered the foot injury ... He played his freshman year at Utah Valley State College before going on an LDS Church mission ... He sat out a year as a redshirt before joining the Cougars in 2000-2001.
MARK BIGELOW / 6-7 Â• 190 Â• sophomore Â• guard/forward
CAPSULE -- Bigelow could be one of the Cougars top players and among the top performers in the Mountain West if he returns to his pre-mission form ... He was BYU's leading scorer (15.0) and rebounder (6.3) in 1998-99 before going on a two-year LDS Church mission to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. ... He should play a significant role this season if he can regain his physical conditioning ... He returned from his mission in June having grown an inch to 6-7 ... He returned at 185 points ... He could play the 2 or the 3 spot on the floor for the Cougars ... He is an excellent shooter and extremely intelligent player ... A gifted offensive player with a great mid-range game ... He moves well without the ball ... He was the 1999 WAC Pacific Division Freshman of the Year, All-WAC Second Team and All-Newcomer Team in 1999 ... He had a career-high 33 points at Washington State and twice recorded highs of 14 rebounds in a game.
Daniel Bobik / 6-6 Â• 195Â• sophomoreÂ• guard
CAPSULE: Bobik averaged 3.5 points and 10.4 minutes while playing in 28 of 33 games as a freshman ... He has good offensive instincts and size on the guardline ... He will compete for a starting role in 2001-02 with the loss of BYU's all-conference guard line of Whiting and Lyday ... He has good range and is a crafty passer with good court awareness ... He could play some point but is primarily a wing player ... He enrolled at BYU for his freshman season after returning from an LDS Church mission to the Dominican Republic ... He was one of the first recruits to sign with BYU under Steve Cleveland.
Dan Howard / 7-0 Â• 225 Â• sophomore Â• center
CAPSULE: Howard played in 14 games last year in limited action ... The tallest player on the roster, he has a nice touch for a big man ... He has made 8 of his 11 field goal attempts as a Cougar ... A hard worker, he has a knack for the ball and could be a factor in inside this year, especially with the Cougars' losses in the post ... He has not had the opportunity to play a lot of consistent minutes (he played a career-best 12 minutes at San Francisco last year) since last playing for his high school team in 1996.
Bart Jepsen / 6-9 Â• 235 Â• redshirt sophomore Â• forward
CAPSULE: Jepsen redshirted last season after returning from an LDS Church mission ... He had suffered a severe break of his leg on his mission ... He will likely play a significant role in the middle as a rebounder and defender who can run the floor well ... A strong physical presence and good rebounder, he could play a role similar to that of outgoing senior Nate Knight ... Before a two-year LDS Church mission, Jepsen started nine times while playing 27 games as a freshman in 1997-98 in Cleveland's first season ... He is the younger brother of former Cougar center Bret Jepsen.
Jesse Pinegar / 6-9 Â• 220 Â• redshirt freshman Â• forward
CAPSULE: Pinegar redshirted last year after coming to BYU as one of the Cougars' top recruits and the first of BYU's top-20 recruiting class to commit to the Cougars ... He was rated the top center in the West as a junior and sat out his senior year of high school after shoulder surgery ...An extremely skilled offensive player, he was expected to play a strong role for BYU this season but again injured his shoulder in June ... He will be out until at least December and perhaps longer to recover from the surgery to his left (non dominant) shoulder ... The latest surgery should completely repair the injury ... A mobile, athletic player, he can play the 3, 4 or 5 positions and has excellent range beyond the three-point line ... He is an outstanding passer and a very skilled young offensive post player ... He made significant strides in the weight room this past season before the injury .... He has the tools to play a significant role once healthy.
Jacob Chrisman / 6-8 Â• 225 Â• sophomore Â• forward
CHRISMAN CAPSULE: A two-sport athlete, Chrisman is also is a pitcher on the BYU baseball team ... He announced last spring that he will redshirt basketball this year to play a full season of baseball, but could still try to play both sports this season ... He started practicing with the basketball team in November after the completion of fall baseball workouts ... He could be a significant contributor if he does play basketball ... he is extremely mobile and a strong rebounder ... He is an athletic low post player who can score in multiple ways ... He has developed a nice perimeter game ... A hard worker, he has a knack for the game and finds a way to make plays both on offense and defense ... A slasher-type player who has a nice shooting touch ... He could play both the three and four positions for the Cougars.
Jared Jensen / 6-9 Â• 245 Â• freshman Â• forward/center
Jensen earned the 2001 Deseret News Mr. Basketball Award after scoring 25.8 points and pulling down 13 rebounds per game this past season at Fremont High School. He averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds per game as a junior when he also earned Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News All-State honors. He is a talented offensive player in the low-post who can also score with his jumper. He played center in high school but will likely play power forward in college. He should get the opportunity to play as a freshman with the loss of 2001 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year Mekeli Wesley in the post.
Shawn Opunui / 5-11 Â• 170 Â• freshman Â• point guard
Opunui averaged 21.7 points and 6.1 assists as an all-state point guard at Orem High School in 1999 before leaving for an LDS Church mission. A strong offensive player and solid defender, Opunui shot nearly 91 percent from the free throw line, third best in state history, and 40 percent on three-point attempts. His 401 assists put him on the state's top-10 all-time list. He is an athletic point guard who has excellent open court passing skills and is an outstanding three-point shooter. His ability to break defenses down with the dribble should create offensive opportunities for his teammates. He loves pushing the ball up the floor as a true point guard with great court vision. A super passer and great penetrator, Opunui should have an immediate impact on the program with the loss of all-MWC guards Trent Whiting and Terrell Lyday and the uncertain return of Michael Vranes, who sat out last year with an injury.
Jon Carlisle / 6-10 Â• 260 Â• sophomore Â• center
Carlisle is from Salt Lake City and last played on Utah's Final Four team in 1998 as the primary backup to current Cleveland Cavaliers center Michael Doleac. He averaging 2.4 points and 2.1 rebounds in 10.3 minutes per game. He averaged 17.3 points and 10.3 rebounds at Brighton High School in 1997 and was one of three players, including new Cougar teammate Shoff, to earn Region 4 Tri-Player of the Year honors. He is working out to get back into playing shape. His playing weight as a freshman was 223 pounds. He may redshirt this season.
Jimmy Balderson / 6-6 Â• 200 Â• freshman Â• guard
Balderson is a 6-foot-6 combo guard who averaged 34 points, 9.2 rebounds and 6.8 assists while leading Magrath High School in Alberta, Canada to a 32-3 record this past season ... He has excellent range from the three-point line and has good size ... He shot 54 percent from the floor and 91 percent from the free throw line at Magrath High ... A skilled young player, he could factor in on perimeter this year ... He plans to leave in the spring on a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Terry Nashif / 5-10 Â• 165 Â• freshman Â• guard
Nashif is a freshman who served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after his senior year in 1999 at Evergreen High School in Vancouver, Wash. ... A smart player who can put down the three-pointer, he knows how to run a team and is an excellent distributor of the ball ... He could factor in at the point along with fellow freshman Shawn Opunui and senior Matt Montague
STEVE CLEVELAND (70-59 in fifth season)
Steve Cleveland enters his fifth season at the helm of the Cougars in 2001-02. In his four seasons at BYU, Cleveland has proven to be a first-rate recruiter, an excellent coach and player developer, and above all, a winner.
Last year Cleveland guiding BYU to its first NCAA tournament bid since 1995, its first conference regular season title since 1993 and its first conference tournament championship since 1992. While rebuilding a program that finished 1-25 before his arrival, he has improved the Cougars each season, posting records of 9-21, 12-16, 22-11 and 24-9. The Cougars also improved upon an NIT season in 1999-2000 to earn an NCAA berth last year.
The past two seasons both rank among of the school's best year's ever in terms of wins dating back to the Cougars first season in 1902. In fact, only five BYU teams have ever recorded more wins than last year's 24-9 team and only seven have improved upon the 22-11 record in 1999-2000.